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OCC Charter Makes Anchorage First Federal Crypto Bank

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OCC acting Chief Brian Brooks asserts that blockchain is the future of banking and that financial institutions will eventually be blockchain-based. 

The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) announced on Wednesday that it had bestowed a federal bank charter on crypto custodian Anchorage. The bank, which had previously been running as a registered trust company in South Dakota is now the first national cryptocurrency bank.

The OCC is a division of the Treasury Department with the directive to keep banks safe and competitive.

Financial institutions have been facing regulatory setbacks in terms of storage, management and trading of cryptocurrencies. The OCC, in a bid to remedy this, has issued three interpretative letters that facilitate the study of blockchain networks by banks. This will, in turn, enable them to participate in the technology.

Anchorage, will, of course, be expected to adhere to OCC standards.

“In granting this charter, the OCC applied the same rigorous review and standards applied to all charter applications. By bringing this applicant into the federal banking system, the bank and industry will benefit from the OCC’s extensive supervisory experience and expertise,” says a statement by the OCC.

Anchorage President Diogo Mónica stressed the fact that the institution was indeed a national bank, with the only distinction being that they deal in crypto as opposed to other assets.

OCC acting Chief Brian Brooks asserts that blockchain is the future of banking and that financial institutions will eventually be blockchain-based. He noted:

“I think what’s necessary is the creation of crypto banks that are able to hold stablecoins that reflect value of a fiat currency, but that doesn’t change the native asset, and you need to have real cryptocurrencies over here where they interact directly with each other, with no need to ever off-ramp. Fiat will ultimately be a legacy thing of the past.”

Brooks, former Coinbase legal counsel, has led the OCC since May 2020. In his assignment, he has steered the organization in a more crypto-friendly direction. He has also held that crypto-firms need to be regulated at the national, and not state level. He believes this federal charter will enable businesses to operate seamlessly around the country. Mónico agrees, noting that this will allow crypto start-ups to “be connected directly to the core of the financial system”.

The charter may well be Brooks last major action as OCC chief. This week might be his last. His pro-crypto decisions have, of course, been met with opposition from lawmakers with calls being made that President-Elect Joe Biden repeal some legislation approved during Trump‘s tenure. Key among these are all recent crypto regulations by the OCC.

While Biden‘s course of action in this regard remains to be seen, it is clear that a federal charter will not be easy for the new OCC chief to reverse.

Cryptocurrency news, News

Mercy Tukiya Mutanya

Mercy Mutanya is a Tech enthusiast, Digital Marketer, Writer and IT Business Management Student.
She enjoys reading, writing, doing crosswords and binge-watching her favourite TV series.

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Blockchain

CBOE files to list Van Eck’s proposed Bitcoin ETF

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Globally leading exchange holding company, Chicago Board Options Exchange, or CBOE, has filed to list the Bitcoin exchange-traded fund proposed by asset manager, Van Eck.

CBOE filed a Form 19b-4 requesting permission to list the ETF from the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission on Jan. 3. In the form, CBOE emphasizes the benefits an ETF would offer to retail investors over the spot Bitcoin markets, including custody:

“Exposure to bitcoin through an ETP also presents certain advantages for retail investors compared to buying spot bitcoin directly. The most notable advantage is the use of the Custodian to custody the Trust’s bitcoin assets.”

While CBOE did not reveal who its custodian is, the document notes its custodian is “a trust company chartered and regulated by [the New York Department of Financial Services].”

Once the SEC has formally acknowledged it is reviewing the application, the regulator has 45 days to deliver its verdict or extend the assessment deadline. The SEC can extend its deliberation period for up to 240 days before finalizing its decision.

If approved, the ETF would be the first crypto product offered by CBOE since February 2019, with CBOE having then ceased offering Bitcoin futures contracts. In December 2017, CBOE became the first regulated financial institution in the United States to offer Bitcoin futures contracts, beating out the Chicago Mercantile Exchange by just a couple of weeks.

In January, Van Eck filed for SEC approval of a Bitcoin ETF. While Van Eck had previously filed for a BItcoin ETF in 2017, the firm also teamed up with SolidX — a blockchain firm that had been attempting to bring a Bitcoin ETF to market since 2015 — to file for a jointly issued ETF in 2018. The joint application was withdrawn in September 2019, with the two firms parting ways shortly after.

However, Van Eck’s latest filing has become the subject of a lawsuit from SolidX, who alleges Van Eck plagiarized their product.

Van Eck also filed for an ETF tracking the performance of prominent crypto firms on Jan. 21. The product would seek the price and performance of the Global Digital Asset Equity Index — which is run by its subsidiary MV Index Solutions.

As of this writing, the SEC is yet to approve any crypto ETF product.

Source: https://cointelegraph.com/news/cboe-files-to-list-van-eck-s-proposed-bitcoin-etf

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Coinbase custodies 11% of entire crypto capitalization

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Crypto data aggregator Messari has reported that the quantity of crypto assets stored in custody on U.S. exchange giant Coinbase surged in the last quarter of 2020.

Messari Crypto has revealed that as much as 11% of the entire crypto market capitalization was held with Coinbase custody at the end of last year. The Coinbase offers custody services for over 90 crypto assets, roughly half of which are tradable on Coinbase’s exchange.

The value of assets custodied with Coinbase spiked to roughly $90 billion in the fourth quarter of 2020 as the combined crypto capitalization more than doubled to tag $780 billion by 2021.

Despite the wide variety of assets supported by Coinbase Custody, Messari found that Bitcoin and Ethereum account for 83% of the cryptocurrency held with Coinbase.

While Bitcoin consistently represented 70% of the assets custodied with Coinbase during 2019 and 2020, Ethereum increased from 9% to 13% over the same period.

The findings were published in a report examining Coinbase’s anticipated public listing that was compiled by Messari researcher Mira Christanto.

Christanto reported that 95% of Coinbase trading revenues are from retail clients, who pay 30 times more than institutional customers. She also noted a pre-IPO valuation at 7% of the total crypto market cap which would equate to around $107 billion according to the sector’s current market cap of $1.54 trillion.

According to the S-1 report Coinbase submitted to the Securities and Exchange Commission on Feb. 25, the exchange posted a direct revenue of $1.1 billion in 2020 mostly from trading fees.

In a Feb. 25 blog post to its clients, Coinbase revealed that Bitcoin and other crypto assets have comprised a major share of its corporate treasury since the company’s founding back in 2012.

Source: https://cointelegraph.com/news/coinbase-custodies-11-of-entire-crypto-capitalization

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Leverage traders ‘flushed out’ by late-February crypto crash: Glassnode

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According to on-chain analytics provider, Glassnode, the late-February crypto market correction may have purged excessive leverage from the markets.

On March 1, Glassnode published a report analyzing the recent crypto crash — which was only the second significant crypto correction since the markets pushed into new record highs in late 2020.

Glassnodenoted the crash peaked with a 25% fall from the local top of $58,300 to $43,343. As such, the move was weaker than January’s dip which saw a roughly 30% retracement from $42,000 to less than $30,000.

The analytics provider suggested that these pullbacks are positive for the crypto markets overall, attributing the latest correction to liquidated leveraged positions held by risky speculators:

“Significant market corrections are positive events in that they flush out speculation, leverage, weak hands, and test holder conviction.”

The report added that several key market indicators were reset as BTC prices found fresh support, including futures open interest, futures funding rates, and the price premium for Grayscale’s investment products.

Futures open interest, which is the total number of outstanding contracts that have not been settled, dropped almost $4 billion or 22% from its peak of $18.4 billion. Glassnode also commented noted perpetual futures funding rates have also reset close to zero, which could indicate that traders are not willing to enter short positions, stating:

“Previous combinations of decreasing open interest and a reset of funding rates have indicated a flush in speculative trading has occurred.”

However, the report did note that open interest is still hovering roughly $2.5 billion above the previous peak of $3.9 billion on Feb. 21 — meaning there is still significant leverage within the market.

Glassnode also noted that shares in Grayscale’s Bitcoin Trust are trading at a discount compared to spot market prices for the first time ever, with investors paying a nearly 4% discount to access exposure to BTC through Grayscale’s trust.

It added that competing products such as Canada’s Purpose ETF could diminish Grayscale’s premium as more institutional products enter the market and close arbitrage opportunities.

At the time of writing, Bitcoin prices were up 5.3% over the past 24 hours, with BTC currently changing hands for $49,200.

Source: https://cointelegraph.com/news/leverage-traders-flushed-out-by-late-february-crypto-crash-glassnode

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